The Sydney Jewish Museum remembers and recalls the Holocaust

January 31, 2018 by Community newsdesk
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The Sydney Jewish Museum together with the Australian Association of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Descendants (AAJHSD) has commemorated U.N. International Holocaust Remembrance Day and the Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz.

More than 200 survivors, their descendants, and members of the community, gathered at the Museum to witness stories of survival and life after liberation, on the day following the historic date that marks 73 years since the liberation of those incarcerated in Auschwitz-Birkenau.

President of the AAJHSD, Peter Wayne, welcomed distinguished guests and consular officials, and explained the weight of the commemorative day. Candles were lit by six Holocaust survivors to commemorate the 6 million Jewish men, women and children who perished in the Holocaust. Four of the Museum’s survivors who were interned in Auschwitz – Olga Horak, Yvonne Engelman, Kuba Enoch and Eddie Jaku  – shared moments from their experiences during and after World War II, and the lingering memories, and lessons that they carry with them in their new life in Australia. When talking about their migration to Australia after liberation, the survivors referred to tropes of being born again, crossing the sea to a new, unknown place filled with sunshine. But, Olga reflected, her experiences still haunt her. It is imperative that after liberation from the Nazi regime, “the second and third generation have the responsibility to reclaim and to retell part of the history. They must tell everyone what happened.”

Norman Seligman, CEO of the Sydney Jewish Museum, delivered an empowering message from Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres, of resolve and our need to educate in the face of xenophobia and ideologies of hatred. President of the Museum Professor Gus Lehrer, and Board Member Rikki Gold, representing Gen 3, also spoke passionately about the importance of education on the subjects of Holocaust and Human Rights, and emphasised the role of the Museum in the teaching of future generations to ensure that ‘Never Again’ is a firm reality. Speaking to the notion of sharing responsibility and taking preventative action, Rikki emphasised the incredible importance for the third generation to continue the act of story-telling and animating a dark history that will soon no longer have a witness voice: “The empathy that people feel when they hear personal stories are what can be turned into lessons to make people stand against racism, violence and anti-Semitism.”

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